Only two players remain standing at the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship, where Lakareber Abe will meet Gabriella Then in Saturday's 36-hole final at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Abe, a 17-year-old from Angleton, Texas, won her semifinal match 1 up over Bethany Wu on Friday afternoon, having defeated Kathleen Scavo, 4 and 3, during the morning session. Committed to play golf for the University of Alabama in the fall of 2014, Abe has advanced to the match-play portion of the event for just the second time in her junior golf career, having lost in the first round in 2011.
Meeting Abe in Saturday's final will be Then, a 17-year-old who will join the reigning national champion USC Trojans women's golf team this fall. Then is the more experienced finalist, having competed in the U.S. Women's Open three times and teeing it up in a USGA championship for the 11th time this week. The Upland, Calif., native won her morning match, 1 up, over Yueer Feng, and followed that win with a 2-and-1 victory over Megan Khang in the semifinals.
Open to any female golfer under 18 years of age and with a handicap index not exceeding 18.4, the U.S. Girls' Junior has been a stepping stone for many of the game's great players. The event boasts a list of past champions that includes Nancy Lopez (1972, 1974), Inbee Park (2002), I.K. Kim (2005), Lexi Thompson (2008) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2011).